Arsenal v Leeds Utd Match Thread - Jamie Shackleton replaces the injured Kalvin Phillips

11 Feb 2021 10:14 am, by Ellandback1


Sunday 14th February 16.30pm | Emirates Stadium


Having won three out of their last 4 league matches, a confident Leeds squad will be travelling down to the Emirates Stadium hoping they can break heir London voodoo. The Whites have not won in London since dispatching QPR at Loftus Road in December 2017. Due to their recent revival, Bielsa's lads have climbed a point clear of the Gunners in 10th place, on 32 points. Arsenal have lost their last two league games and will be desperate to avoid a third defeat on the bounce. Their recent form has left them in 11th position in the table, one point behind 10th placed Leeds ahead of this weekend's contest. Last time the two sides met at Elland Road back in November it was a nil nil draw despite Arsenal going down to ten men. Nicolas Pépé was sent off having clashed heads with Ezgjan Alioski.

Arsenal will be without both Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey for this weekend's Premier League clash with Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium. Tierney has missed his side's last four league matches with a calf strain, and a statement on the London club's official website revealed that the Scotland international would again be absent against the Whites. Partey, meanwhile, was forced off against Aston Villa last weekend with a hamstring problem, and the summer arrival from Atletico Madrid will not be available to take on Marcelo Bielsa's side. David Luiz and Bernd Leno both return from suspensions and Gianni Alioski’s best friend Nicolas Pépé is also available. Leeds United cult hero Emile Smith Rowe has been Arsenal’s break out star since Christmas in an otherwise lacklustre Gunners side.

Leeds and England ace Kalvin Philips will miss the trip to North London after the 24 year old picked up a calf strain during their 2-0 win against Crystal Palace. He will be replaced in the Leeds starting line-up by Jamie Shackleton. Bielsa has indicated that Struijk will play defensive midfield, Luke Ayling will move to the centre of defence whilst Shackelton will play right back. Diego Llorente and Rodrigo remain unavaialbe and we still wait a date for the return of Berardi who started first team training again this week. Pablo Hernandez returns to the bench alongside youngsters Joe Gelhardt, Jack Jenkins and Niall Huggins.




The Whites go into the game having tasted victory in their last two away matches, a 2-1 success against Newcastle United which was followed up by an impressive 3-1 win against high-flying Leicester. Those victories mean that Bielsa’s side have won six out of their 11 matches on the road during their first season back in the Premier League. Arsenal have struggled on home turf this season. From their 11 matches, they have only recorded four wins, with three draws and four losses in their other seven fixtures. Mikel Arteta’s side have overcome their troubles from the start of the season. Prior to back-to-back losses in their last two matches, the Gunners had been on a seven match unbeaten run, winning five.


Leeds Starting XI
Meslier, Ayling, Cooper, Struijk, Alioski, Harrison, Shackleton, Klich, Dallas, Raphinha, Bamford

Subs: Casilla, Roberts, Costa, Hernandez, Davis, Gelhardt, Jenkins, Huggins

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SaraM wrote on 15 Feb 2021 10:54 am

Mountain wrote: Sun Feb 14, 2021 7:38 pm But Leeds don't really need to win, these are the games to try out new formations, players, tactics, testing players in other positions to see how they fare for the games that matter. People berate him for not changing tactics or formations in some games, and when he changes things around and tries players in new positions in nothing games, the games where he should...well he gets berated again.

We all surely agree one thing, he knows infinitely more about each player and what they can and can't do and the merits of using certain games to try new things that night be useful down the line (and that includes fjnding out that something doesn't work) than any of us here.
Agree with this. It's easy to criticise Bielsa for over-tinkering when the changes to cover missing players don't work, but this has to be in the context of the times when they do (Villa), and the understanding that Bielsa is constantly learning and developing, both his players and his system. That's why he's still the most exciting and innovative manager at 65 years of age.

He takes risks, and he makes mistakes, but I think it's always in the context of what is most likely to succeed over a period of time. The same is true when he perseveres with a player in a position which seems to not be working. He sees potential in that player's development which goes beyond his performance in any one game.

It always comes back to the system being more than the sum of its parts. It works as a whole, or it fails as a whole; we either tear teams apart, or capitulate like headless chickens, very rarely anything in the middle. Before today, 10 wins, 2 draws, 10 losses. It's a rollercoaster to experience as a fan, but it's this high risk, high reward, strategy that has got us where we are. It is also constantly in development; I just hope we get enough time from Bielsa to see where it can take us next.

1964white wrote on 15 Feb 2021 08:36 am

I wonder which Jigsaw of a line-up will start v Wolves

HarryofOz wrote on 15 Feb 2021 06:37 am

andrewjohnsmith wrote: Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:01 am s**t show of a first half. We were really poor. Part of it came to the reshuffling but also a few players didn't perform as they should have.

Strujik just didn't work again in the KP role. He's good defensively but doesn't cover the gaps, find space and create like KP does. Saying that, he did look better in the 2nd half. I'd be glad to see him back in defence though.

Shackleton had a good game and it was really pleasing to see Roberts come on and play well. Also glad to see Huggins come on for so many minutes. I was a little bemused at first why Bielsa sent him into midfield - almost thought he'd lost the plot since Huggins spends 90% of his U23 time at full back or on the wing. He did well though in all 3 positions he played.

I've heard a bit abut Bamfords penalty claims. I had no complaints and really think Cooper's reprieve in the 1st half was more of a penalty.

Really pleased with the way we came back in the 2nd half and the performance of the youngsters and fringe players. At the start of the season, we weren't supposed to win away games like this. Next ...
A very good description of the match and us in general.

andrewjohnsmith wrote on 15 Feb 2021 06:01 am

s**t show of a first half. We were really poor. Part of it came to the reshuffling but also a few players didn't perform as they should have.

Strujik just didn't work again in the KP role. He's good defensively but doesn't cover the gaps, find space and create like KP does. Saying that, he did look better in the 2nd half. I'd be glad to see him back in defence though.

Shackleton had a good game and it was really pleasing to see Roberts come on and play well. Also glad to see Huggins come on for so many minutes. I was a little bemused at first why Bielsa sent him into midfield - almost thought he'd lost the plot since Huggins spends 90% of his U23 time at full back or on the wing. He did well though in all 3 positions he played.

I've heard a bit abut Bamfords penalty claims. I had no complaints and really think Cooper's reprieve in the 1st half was more of a penalty.

Really pleased with the way we came back in the 2nd half and the performance of the youngsters and fringe players. At the start of the season, we weren't supposed to win away games like this. Next ...

Smudge3920 wrote on 15 Feb 2021 04:07 am

Given some of the comments aimed the lads way....apt for this thread...